In The News

Missing from Northern Nevada's boom: corporate headquarters

May 2, 2017

This post was originally published in the Reno Gazette Journal and can be found at this link.

http://www.rgj.com/story/money/business/2017/03/24/missing-northern-nevadas-boom-corporate-headquarters/99604918/

 

Economic development is more than amassing a vast quantity of jobs. It is about both quantity and quality. And when economic development is done right, it is about the identity of a community.

 

Northern Nevada is in the middle of an economic development boom. Companies are relocating to our region in significant numbers. Amidst all of this development, it is important to take a step back and ask ourselves if we are attracting the right mix of companies and jobs. We need to challenge ourselves to focus on the quality, not just the quantity, of the jobs we’re attracting.

 

We have had success attracting distribution centers, logistics companies and back-office operations. These provide a significant quantity of jobs, but our economic development efforts should also focus on attracting corporate headquarters large and small that will bring executive-level talent and a strong economic ripple effect to our region.

 

Each new large business that comes to town shapes the region. Large companies that put down roots in Northern Nevada essentially become part of our community identity and brand.

 

Ten years from now, we’ll likely look back at this point in our economic development history and remember it either as the time that we became known as primarily a distribution and logistics hub, or a period where we ushered in true economic diversity.

 

An article entitled “Get Me Headquarters” on the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s website noted the outsized influence that corporate headquarters have on a region.

 

“The influence of large companies went well beyond jobs. Companies and their top executives were often key players in the community, a source of civic leadership and philanthropic effort,” said the article. “Headquarters also depend heavily on regular face-to-face contact with a network of outside suppliers of highly paid business services—investment and commercial banks, lawyers, accountants, advertising and media companies, and consulting firms.”

 

Reno can attract corporate headquarters in the way a city like Phoenix has. Our accessibility to the Bay Area, our quality of life, our world-class recreation and our economic momentum make us an attractive location as a corporate hub.

 

But research has shown that corporations follow other corporations in relocating headquarters. So the first high-profile headquarters or two to put down roots in Reno could create a domino effect, convincing others to do the same.

 

Reno has become a place where company after company chooses as its home for distribution centers and logistics operations. Just what if we could start a chain reaction of companies establishing corporate headquarters their brain trust in the region?

 

We may be at a crossroads right now. The long-term thinking of today will shape the Reno of the future. The influx of corporate leadership in our community will have a strong halo effect of economic growth within the entire region.

 

John Solari is the managing partner of J.A. Solari & Partners. He has 25 years of accounting experience and is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants.